Must your children know what you own?

The Trusts Act 2019 will be in force on 30 January next year.

If you are a trustee you already know that you have few rights and that trust law is there to protect beneficiaries.  Reading the new Act, you realise it’s all about beneficiaries.

Thus, from next year information must be given to beneficiaries so they can understand what the trust owns and what each trustee is doing. Beneficiaries will be better able to measure this against what they should be doing, and be better able to make trustees act properly.

Giving information to families and others will be an unforeseen burden for some.  Many trusts were settled when family breakups were less common, when people still accepted that parents knew best, and when the beneficiaries were infants.

But if you have a trust and still think about the property as yours, you may see the sharing of trust documents and financials as an invitation to others to talk about your affairs.  That is the point.  The trust property is not yours, it’s held by you as trustee precisely for the beneficiaries, not just for yourself. 

The new Act is about transparency.  Beneficiaries (with some exceptions) should know what is owned by the Trust and how it is being administered.

If you have any disquiet about the new obligations, be sure to call us.


For further information, or to make an appointment please call us on 03 477 8080.

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